Ricardo Bernal and Reymundo Resendez’s Jess Move You raced to a 7-1 mild upset win in the Grade 1, $759,197 Ruidoso Derby at Ruidoso Downs on Saturday afternoon.
TNT Racing’s T Velocity picked an excellent spot to win his maiden when he narrowly won the $100,000 Mr Jess Perry, a race for horses who did not qualify to the Ruidoso Derby, earlier on the program.
Jess Move You started from the inside post position and raced with the leaders. “We broke well,” said winning jockey Agustin Silva. “I knew that he could finish.”
That is exactly what Jess Move You did to secure the three-quarter length victory over Cartel Cupid. Hierarchy was another neck back for third.
The Ruidoso Derby was billed as a showdown between fastest-qualifier Uptown Dynasty, the 7-5 favorite, the previously undefeated champion KVN Corona, the 17-10 second choice. Melvin Neugebauer’s Uptown Dynasty was in the hunt early and finished fourth while Keith Nellesen’s KVN Corona did not offer a serious threat and finished eighth.
It was a cornerstone win for trainer Rodolfo “Rudy” Valles, who had four starters in the Ruidoso Derby. It was his first Grade 1 win and his first stakes win. “It’s a dream come true,” said Valles with a huge grin. The 24-year-old Valles had worked one year for Blane Wood and three years for Sleepy Gilbreath.
Jess Move You was purchased last summer through trainer Mike Joiner after his first two starts, each at Ruidoso Downs. He had been sixth in his Ruidoso Futurity trial and then posted another sixth in his Rainbow Derby trial. He won his maiden at Zia Park on October 22.
The Apollitical Jess-sired Jess Move You moved up to the stakes division this year. He qualified for the West Texas Derby and then gained his first stakes win in the $25,000 Animas Stakes at SunRay Park for trainer Jesus Carrete before joining the Valles barn.
Jess Move You won the seventh of 10 Ruidoso Derby trials with the second-fastest qualifying time of :20.154 to reach the Ruidoso Derby finals.
Randy and Sandy Coleman’s Cartel Cupid is proving to be a solid stakes competitor. The gelding by Corona Cartel closed out his juvenile campaign with a fifth-place run in the Grade 1, $874,000 Texas Classic Futurity. He was then rested and returned in the Ruidoso Derby trials to win the fourth trial with the eighth-fastest time of :20.259.
Regular rider Ricky Ramirez rode Cartel Cupid for trainer Wood.
Paragon Farms, LLC’s Hierarchy, another member of the Valles stable, was a maiden until April 19 when he won a Remington Park maiden race. The gelding by Fdd Dynasty then won his Ruidoso Derby trial by a head with the seventh-fastest time of :20.246.
Hierarchy, a $25,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale purchase, was ridden by Eduwin Lujan after Ramirez was aboard for the trial win.
In the Mr Jess Perry, T Velocity started sharply from the seventh post position and was within striking position. The gray gelding won the race at the end of the 400 yards when he surged to get the neck win over Hez Our Prize. Favored Hotstepper saved third. He finished three quarters of a length behind Hez Our Prize.
Jockey Raul Ramirez, Jr. was aboard T Velocity for the win in :20.392.
The Apollitical Jess-sired T Velocity was winless in his six starts before taking the Mr Jess Perry for trainer Gilbreath. He showed promise in his Ruidoso Derby trial when he was bumped at the start and still managed a third-place run.
Preston Cloud’s runner-up Hez Our Prize was second in last year’s $100,000 Ruidoso Juvenile and third in the 2017 $1 million Remington Park Oklahoma-bred Futurity.
The Clint Crawford-trained gelding by Hez Our Secret won his Ruidoso Derby trial by a nose under Omar Reyes, who also rode him in the Mr Jess Perry.
Hotstepper, a gelding by One Famous Eagle, was an important two-year-old last year with a second-place finish in the Grade 1, $874,000 Texas Classic Futurity and third in the Grade 1, $3 million All American Futurity.
Gilbreath trains Hotstepper for owners R.D. Hubbard, Johnny Cope, Ray Willis and Butch Southway. Jose Amador Alvarez was the jockey.